From the “Camp” to “Icon”: An Interview with Felissa Rose

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If you are a fan of horror films, then you definitely will know Felissa Rose. She broke out with her now iconic role of Angela Baker in the 1983 slasher classic Sleepaway Camp. As of late, she has become a major force in the horror genre, appearing in all sorts of gems such as her return to the role of Angela in Return to Sleepaway Camp, Summer Camp Massacre, and others. She is also the co-host of the Fangoria podcast Casualty Friday, which she co-hosts with fellow horror icons Kane Hodder and Tiffany Shepis.She can be seen in two very recent horror films, Rootwood and For Jennifer, which the former comes out on April 7 and the latter now available on Demand.

WorldFilmGeek had the chance to talk to Rose about not only the films but her podcast and a bit about her prolific career.

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The young Felissa Rose in her debut and breakout role in Sleepaway Camp (1983)

Felissa, I have to say I am absolutely honored to talk with you! Sleepaway Camp is one of my favorite horror films and here we are! I am so excited to get the chance to talk to you!
Oh thank you so much! This has been crazy with everything going on. I do have to say as much as it’s crazy, I am excited to be home as I am always out. I have three kids and my husband here, so I get to spend more time with them. I think with everything going on, we just have to make the most of what we have at the moment, so let’s just enjoy it!

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The Dream Team (and hosts of Fangoria’s Casualty Friday podcast): Tiffany Shepis, Kane Hodder, and Felissa Rose. (Fangoria)

I have to agree with that! So I have to ask, how does it feel to be a horror icon?
(Laughs) Oh it’s so funny! I host a podcast called Casualty Friday with fellow horror film stars and friends Kane Hodder [Jason from Friday the 13th Part VII to Jason X] and Tiffany Shepis [Along Came the Devil II and other countless horror films] and we deconstructed the word “icon”. I feel grateful for the having the opportunity to do all these films and work with great people like Kane and Tiffany as well as directors like Adam Green and Harrison Smith.

I spoke with “SpookyDan” Walker a while back and he was telling me how much the horror community was like a family and that made me appreciate the genre even more, even more when I was a 13-year old who had this phase of just watching horror films (Laughs).
Oh I love SpookyDan! Yes, we are like a big happy family and we always love to work with one another. So, it feels so good to be doing all these films, especially in independent films.

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Felissa Rose in Rootwood (Silent Partners)

There are two new films you’re in, For Jennifer and Rootwood. I got the chance to see Rootwood last year courtesy of the film’s producer. I was blown away with your performance because without spoiling anything, it just brought out a level I wasn’t expecting for your character. What was it like working on that film?
I am so excited that you enjoyed Rootwood. Marcel [Walz] is a great friend and a really terrific director. I really enjoyed playing the character. When I get to play new characters, I like to bring something different to the roles, in the same way a girl likes to play dress-up. And I loved doing the end scene of that film because Marcel told me to just go for it! (Laughs) I love it when a director has so much trusts in the actors that they will just let them do their own thing. They tell them to just let it go and just do it! And I really enjoyed the experience making that film.

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Elissa Dowling in Rootwood (Silent Partners)

The film also had Elissa Dowling, which thanks to this film, I became an instant fan of hers.
Yes! She was super sweet and wonderful to work with. She’s doing great in the genre as well, recently appearing in The Girl on the 3rd Floor and other horror films. I had a great time working with her.

 

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Tiffani Fest in For Jennifer (LAHorror.com/Lone Morsel Productions)

That’s awesome! So you worked with James Cullen Brassack on 2 Jennifer and now, you returned for the latest installment, For Jennifer. What was it like to return to that film franchise?
(Laughs) Yes! I’ve known James for many years, having had the opportunity to meet him. We worked on a film called Bethany. Then, I met Hunter Johnson, who directed 2 Jennifer and then Jody Barton, who worked on For Jennifer. It was so hilarious working with Hunter, and we made the most of every second on the set. Working with Jody, we really worked hard to make that scene work and it was a lot of fun. And as a plus, it stars one of my best friends, Tiffani Fest, who is also in Rootwood. It’s like what a small world! (Laughs)

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Felissa Rose in her triumphant return as Angela in Return to Sleepaway Camp

It’s been quite a while since your iconic turn as Angela Baker in Sleepaway Camp. I saw the sequels and they were a bit on the cheesy side, which I think was the intention. Then, you made your triumphant return in Return to Sleepaway Camp. How did it feel to return to that world?
It’s so funny. I mean Sleepaway Camp really changed my life. I was very lucky to end up marrying one of the biggest fans of the film (Laughs). I did see Sleepaway Camp 2 and Sleepaway Camp 3 and I loved them. I loved Pamela Springsteen in the role. When I got to work with Robert Hiltzik, Jonathan Tiersten, and Paul De Angelo for Return to Sleepaway Camp, as an adult, it made me appreciate it even more. It also was where I met my husband. We shot the film in 2003, so its been a good seventeen years. I felt so relieved that I got to go full circle and return to the role.

Before all this chaos had hit us hard, were there any films that you completed that you can talk about?
Yes! I will be in Terrifier 2 for starters!

Yes! I am looking forward to that one!
I had a blast working on that film. Just before we were hit with the COVID-19 pandemic, I was in Florida working on a film that’s more in the vein of Knives Out and Clue, called Scream Test. It’s directed by a good friend, Bob Cook, and co-stars Dave Sheridan, Vincent Ward from The Walking Dead, and Glenn Morshower, as well as Darby Hinton. We had to halt production on that when the pandemic hit.

I also recently did a film called The Step Daddy with Vincent Ward and it’s basically a remake of the classic Stepfather. I also recently did a film with Thomas Churchill called Big Freaking Rat, which is a creature film with SFX from a great, Joe Castro.

I was set to do a film in April called Ghost in San Francisco, but I think we’re going to begin that possibly at the end of June. So, for now, I’m just staying here and when the time comes, I think, especially for the convention circuit, we’ll all plan some big get togethers because I think that’s what everyone needs (Laughs).

I have to totally agree with you on that! For Jennifer is available on Demand and Rootwood is coming April 7. These two are really good indie horror films worth checking out and Felissa, once again, it’s been an honor talking to you!
Well, it’s been an honor talking to you! And I hope you and everyone gets to stay safe and take care! We’ll definitely keep in touch!

A special Thank You goes out to October Coast PR and Felissa Rose for making this interview happen! For more on Felissa, check out her Twitter page as well as checking out her podcast, Casualty Friday, on the Fangoria YouTube Channel and all various platforms.

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